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WINTER SPORTS ROUNDUP

Kostelic Overcomes His Mistakes to Win Slalom

January 14, 2002|From Wire Reports

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia won his second career World Cup race Sunday at Wengen, Switzerland, taking a men's slalom by the slimmest margin possible. Bode Miller of the United States finished sixth.

Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt finished eighth to win the combined event, which adds the times from the weekend's downhill and slalom.

The leader after the opening slalom run, Kostelic held on during his second run to finish with a two-run time of 1 minute 42.29 seconds, edging Slovenia's Mitja Kunc by .01.

Kunc, second in the opening leg, appeared to be the winner after a strong second run, as Kostelic committed a string of mistakes, losing much of his advantage from the first leg. But he heaved himself across the line for the narrow win. He also won the season-opening slalom in Soelden, Austria.

After finishing the first run in 19th place, Miller produced the second-fastest final run to move up to sixth, at 1:43.11.

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Laure Pequegnot of France skied a near-perfect second leg to win a women's World Cup slalom at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, and move into first place in the seasom slalom standings. She finished in a combined time of 1:27.22 seconds to beat Sonja Nef of Switzerland.

Nef clocked 1:28.80 for the two legs. Third place went to Ylva Nowen of Sweden, .67 seconds off the pace. Americans Kristina Koznick and Sarah Schleper came in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Austria's Renate Goetschl won the combined, which matched times from Saturday's downhill with those of the Sunday's slalom.

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Todd Hays rallied the United States to a victory in the four-man bobsled at St. Moritz, Switzerland, his final World Cup race of the season.

Sharing second were the Swiss team led by Christian Reich and the German team led by Andre Lange.

Hays, a strong medal favorite for next month's Olympics in Salt Lake City, decided to end his World Cup season and return to the United States to prepare for the Games.

With two victories and a second-place finish, Hays leads the four-man World Cup standings with 171 points. Lange is second at 163, followed by Switzerland's Martin Annen at 151.

Hays was 0.01 seconds behind Lange after the opening run but came back with a blistering second effort.

He and teammates Randy Jones, Paul Jovanvic and Garrett Hines had a two-run time of 2 minutes 5.61 seconds.

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Austria overcame two more spectacular leaps by German star Sven Hannawald to win a team event in World Cup ski jumping at Willingen, Germany.

Austria ended a six-year title drought in the team competition, earning 1,141.3 points from its four jumpers. Finland was second at 1,141.3 while Germany was third at 1,112.0.

Hannawald, who recently swept the Four Hills event, leaped 148.5 and 141.5 meters to lead all competitors during the team event.

Martin Hoellwarth led the Austrians with leaps of 141.5 and 137. His teammates were Andreas Goldberger, Stefan Horngacher and Andreas Widhoelzl.

Germany retained its lead in the Nation Cup standings with 2,793 points, followed by Austria at 2,581 and Finland at 2,459.

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Felix Gottwald of Austria celebrated his 26th birthday by winning a World Cup Nordic combined event at Ramsau, Austria, for his sixth victory this season.

Gottwald rallied from fourth place in the opening 10-kilometer race to finish with a total of 240.0 points to move into the overall World Cup lead with 1,480 points. Samppa Lajunen of Finland was second with 238.7 points and fellow Finn Jaakko Tallus was third with 234.7.

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